Claude McKay

The Harlem Dancer

Applauding youths laughed with young prostitutes 
And watched her perfect, half-clothed body sway; 
Her voice was like the sound of blended flutes 
Blown by black players upon a picnic day. 
She sang and danced on gracefully and calm, 
The light gauze hanging loose about her form; 
To me she seemed a proudly-swaying palm 
Grown lovelier for passing through a storm. 
Upon her swarthy neck black shiny curls 
Luxuriant fell; and tossing coins in praise, 
The wine-flushed, bold-eyed boys, and even the girls, 
Devoured her shape with eager, passionate gaze; 
But looking at her falsely-smiling face, 
I knew her self was not in that strange place.

English Poetry - E-mail